INFORMATION technology giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) introduced its new printer series this week in Barcelona at the same time as it published its dismal results for the quarter and the financial year to October.
The group's revenue was 5% lower than in the previous financial year and it suffered a loss of $6.41 a share compared with earnings a share of $3.32 last year. The loss was due to an impairment charge of $8.8-billion relating to the UK software business Autonomy HP acquired last year.
HP said former members of Autonomy's management team "used accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company" before HP bought Autonomy. HP paid $9.7-billion for Autonomy to expand its hardware business and start competing in the software sector.
HP's share price fell to its lowest in 10 years on those disappointing results.
This week, the group showed off its new Officejet and Laserjet printers.
According to Fulvio Ferrari, vice-president and general manager of the inkjet and web solutions business in the imaging and printing group at HP in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, this was the biggest HP product introduction in a long time and the feedback has been positive.
"The [technological] environment is based on mobile devices supported by the cloud user structure. Mobile devices are fundamentally changing the PC business. The PC business used to be desktop, and became notebook, and now it is moving to tablets and mini-tablets. This change is also changing what a printer is.
"If the vast majority of the information is assessed through mobile devices, the industry needs to define standards to enable these devices and the printer to connect in a seamless way."
Hatem Mostafa, vice-president of the inkjet business and platforms global business unit in HP's inkjet and printing solutions, said the market opportunities of HP's new printing products will be billions of dollars.
"We go through a vigorous process when we make an investment like this," said Mostafa.
"Firstly, we look at how the first product will do with the new technology. Secondly, we look at what related products might be developed from the technology.
"There are opportunities to take [this technology] into higher-end segments, like the graphics segment and digital press segment.
"We see opportunities to advance it. We expect this type of product will do very well for us in terms of revenue and sales."
- René Vollgraaff attended HP's launch in Barcelona as a guest of HP
* This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times